Hi my lovely strangers! How's it going? Long time no speak eh? Can you believe I have but a few weeks before I tread the boards of work once more?! Yes my maternity leave is coming to an end. And much as I never thought I’d say this, but I’m really sad about it! But I am happy that I am sad. Let me explain.
I know that it’s the NORMAL reaction. The NORMAL reaction to being ripped away from being with your children 24/7 to shove your nose to the grindstone IS sadness! But. I am not normal. I am someone who finds childcare hard. I mean, of COURSE it’s hard but I think I find it unusually hard. And stressful. I am very impatient, I have a terrible temper and an increasingly short tolerance for crying (baby or pre-schooler). And a pre-disposition to anxiety when things get too much. And I definitely can’t cope with the unpredictability of childcare. I am far too much of a control freak. I can’t stand the disorder.
Of course, the fact that I am these things and I know these things makes me feel terrible. I feel like the worst mum in the world. I feel pathetic. I can’t cope with my children crying! I can’t cope with not knowing how my day will pan out! I can’t cope with my child saying no to me! So why did I have children?????
I didn’t know that I wasn’t going to be the best mum in the world before I had kids. I actually really arrogantly assumed I would love it and be brilliant at it! I LOVE kids. I have a brother who is 11 years younger than me and from the minute he was born I LOVED looking after him. I loved feeding him, I loved playing with him, I loved reading him stories at night. I loved going to his playgroup as a toddler and playing with his little friends (that sounds so wrong! You know what I mean!). I loved babysitting for my mum’s friends. And my first job was as a childminder. In fact, I would go on to love looking after my friends kids too. I have more photos of my friend Laura’s children than I do of my own! (so far and to be fair, it has been 14 years of photo taking!).
|Me (the biggest one) aged 13, my bro in the hat and his buddies.|
SO. Lo and behold when I had my first child and I actually wasn’t a natural, amazing mum, it was a HUGE shock to me. Ok so I had a very rough first pregnancy, then my arrogance of ignoring pre-birth breast feeding advice bit me on the butt when it transpired that actually I was rubbish at it, it DIDN’T “just come naturally” like I’d expected and in the end (after weeks of trying), my child just wasn’t getting anything from me, despite feeding for hours and hours and hours with bleeding nipples and sheets of tears. And even though in my memory the first few months after Gus was born were a lovely if somewhat hazy time, by 4 months I developed crippling anxiety. I was staggering under the weight of responsibility of keeping this little dude alive and I just couldn’t cope. I was desperate to get back to work. To get some normality in my life again. And I’ve always felt massive shame about that. I felt so jealous of people who actively wanted to stay at home longer and be with their babies. Being alone with my baby scared the hell out of me. I feel so guilty even typing that. I would count the hours til my husband got home and hand Gus over to him the minute he walked in the door. That was actually the case on my days alone with him up until he was really quite old I think, maybe 18 months or so?
Gus wasn’t even a difficult baby. Far from it. At 4 months he went through a tough phase because he was starving and we didn’t really understand until I started to lose my mind that actually he just wanted to be weaned. But apart from that he was lovely. He got into a routine early on and slept well in between. So I can’t even claim that that was a factor in my inability to cope.
There will be people reading this who just won’t understand at all. They won’t get what I found so hard. They will be thinking, “you just get on with it. Why didn’t you just get on with it”. I don’t know why. I wish I could have “just got on with it”.
I think the main thing I couldn’t cope with was just that the time was no longer my own. Which is so selfish! Of course it’s not my own! It’s completely in the hands of a tiny megalomaniac! And I CHOSE for that to happen!
SOOOOOO the second time around? I really willed for it to be different this time. For me to actually ENJOY my children’s company uninterrupted. To thrive and become the stereotypical "perfect" mummy that every child wants....one who has the patience of a saint, bakes and paints and sings with a lovely soft sheen over everything! (Thanks INSTAGRAM!) So that my son especially has happy memories of the time his mummy looked after him full time before he went to big school.
|Who would not miss these little blighters?!|
And we have painted and sung and baked....
But of course having a newborn and a 3.5 yr old was never going to be easy! Especially when the 3.5 yr old has pin-balled from terrible 2’s to threeanger to regressed potty training and full on screaming Noooooooooooooooooo’sssssssssss!!!!!!!
The fear of second time around being as scary as the first however, WAS unfounded. It’s much more physical work for sure but the scary, overwhelming feeling wasn’t there. I am obviously at peace with having the responsibility of other humans now! Hooray! And even though Joni took a loooooong time to get into a routine which didn’t involve screaming for hours in the evening and no sleep in the day (!!!!) it’s much easier emotionally. I did actually have a wobble at 17 weeks where I thought I was going to develop the same anxiety I had with Gus. But I took myself straight off to see my counsellor and nipped it in the bud. Ok I sound flippant here, but she helped me see that I was having meta-anxiety....where you worry about worrying! Overthinking, much?!
But what also helped was that I arranged for me to go back to work 2 months earlier than planned. I had a stretch of months and months ahead of me and I just didn’t feel confident enough to think I could cope, especially when I thought I was going spend everyday fighting off panic attacks whilst trying to do the 2 mile round trip nursery school run in between Joni feeds and Gus tantrums.
Now that date is looming though I am actually quite sad about it. I am only going back 3 days a week so I still get 2 whole days with them to myself but it will be quite surreal to go back to mundane office work rather than having my babies make me laugh my head or shout very loudly! And even more so that Gus will be going to school full time in September so I really will not have this time with him again. And I LOVE his company. He’s such a dude!
But the fact that I am feeling sad makes me happy because it makes me feel normal. Like I am a normal mum! A mum that loves spending time with her kids even though I don’t ALWAYS love spending time with them. Cue perfect opportunity to post this lovely song from the Mamas & the Papas.....
Just to show that I have had a lovely time along with the tantrums and tears, I am going to do a picture post of some of the activities we got up to over my maternity leave in my next post.
Right, this was an uber rambler so if you’re still awake I applaud you! One thing a baby with a more regular routine means is more blog posts...huzzah! So I’ll come back with the funny’s soon! This one was a bit serious for me and I’m not sure I’m that comfortable with it. ;)
Ciao for now tho bloggites! Mwah, big kiss! XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX